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Archive for November, 2009

Should we get the kids a puppy for Christmas?

Friday, November 20th, 2009
Teddy

Teddy

Let’s face it, it’s a beautiful fantasy – the kids in their pajamas opening the big box, and out pops a fuzzy puppy with a big red bow.  Awww, how adorable!  But, this isn’t Hollywood, and puppies aren’t props.  So let’s explore the idea from a more practical viewpoint and see if a Christmas puppy really makes sense for you and your kids.

  1. How old are your kids?  Young puppies and young children are not always a match made in heaven.  Kids squeal and run.  Puppies bite and jump.  Completely normal behavior for both, but it can be a challenge to meet the needs of both human and canine babies in a way that keeps everyone safe and happy.  I believe it is best to wait until children are at least 6 years old before trying to raise a young puppy.  Despite your best intentions and efforts, some dogs are not really fond of small children; even a puppy raised with kids may not enjoy them.  So what is a reasonable compromise solution?  Find an adult dog that is accustomed to and loves younger children – a smart choice with a better chance for harmonious success. (more…)
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Choosing a Puppy – Do’s and Don’ts

Friday, November 20th, 2009

DO

Teegan

Teegan

Educate yourself. If you are looking for a purebred puppy, the American Kennel Club site provides information about each breed.  There are advantages and disadvantages to choosing a pure bred dog.  Years of specific breeding have often created genetic health issues, so be sure to find out what problems are common in your desired breed, and what health testing you should expect a good breeder to do.  For more on education and breed selection see Should we get the kids a puppy for Christmas?

Choose a breeder wisely. They are not all created equal, and finding a good match can really help you.  A good breeder will want to interview you to ensure that their dog will be going to a good home.  They will put the dog’s welfare ahead of their own monetary benefit.  They will expect you to sign a contract of some sort.  They will require you to return the puppy to them if you are unable to care for it at any point in time.  They will be willing to answer your questions, offer advice on raising your puppy and serve as a great support system.  I have pretty high standards these days and generally suggest Natural Rearing breeders. (more…)

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Preparing for a new puppy

Friday, November 20th, 2009

DivaDogYou’ve done your homework, decided the time is right to get a puppy, and chosen the right puppy.  Now it’s time to prepare yourself and your house for the new arrival.  Yup, just like you would get ready for your new baby!

Prepare a safe place for your puppy. You’ll likely want a crate for sleeping and an exercise pen (X-pen) or baby gate to create a safe containment area on an easy clean surface.  I suggest having the crate in your bedroom at night and the pen near your main living area.  If you don’t have an appropriate floor surface available, get a remnant of vinyl flooring from your home center or carpet store to use under your X-pen.  You will use the X-pen as a long-term confinement area for times when you can’t watch the puppy for a few hours.  You can use the crate at night, and for short periods like taking a shower or talking on the phone.  Rid yourself of the mindset that a crate is punishment; by using it properly, it will instead become your dog’s favorite safe haven. (more…)

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Bringing Home A Puppy – Tips For Success

Friday, November 20th, 2009

puppy dog hold flowers in forefootsThe big day is finally here!  You want to be prepared and get off to a good start right away with your new puppy.  Here are some tips to make things go smoothly.

The ride home If you have a helper to drive, the drive isn’t too long, and the puppy is tired and/or calm you can try holding the puppy on your lap.  Otherwise you’ll need a crate or at least a cardboard box to contain the puppy.  If you use a box, put some plastic under it just in case.  Place a thick towel at the bottom of the crate or box to give the pup good footing and to catch any accidents.  If your trip will take more than an hour, plan to make a potty stop (or two) along the way.  I would avoid highway rest areas as they are frequented by lots of dogs and your puppy doesn’t have full immunity yet.  If possible, opt for a quiet grassy area instead. Be sure your puppy is wearing identification and has a secure collar or harness. (more…)

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The “Sock Puppy”

Friday, November 20th, 2009

When first separated from their litter mates and moms, many puppies can be very fussy and stressed about sleeping alone.  The “sock puppy” gives them the sensation of sleeping with another puppy.  It’s easy to make and may help you and your pup get a better night’s sleep.

You’ll need a sturdy tube sock (the kind that doesn’t have a heel).  Fill the sock with enough plain rice (not instant) to approximate the size of your puppy.  Then tie the end securely; preferably with a knot in the end of the sock.  If you need to use a heavy string, tie several knots and trim off the loose ends.  Just before bedtime, microwave the sock puppy for a minute or two until it’s close to the puppy’s body temperature (about 102F).  Place the “sock puppy” in the crate with your puppy so he has a warm body to sleep with.

You can magnify the calming effect by adding a drop of pure lavender essential oil to the sock before placing it in the crate.

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Where is your dog sleeping tonight?

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

I’ve heard many answers to this question… In the garage, in his dog house, in the laundry room, on the couch, in my bed, in a crate, on a dog bed, and even anywhere he wants.  What’s the best answer?  Near his human :-)

Dogs are social animals and they like the feeling of belonging to a group and having companionship.  Many, given the choice, will follow their humans from room to room all day.  So it only makes sense that they would want to be near us when we sleep.  There is safety in numbers for them so sleeping near their “leader(s)” helps them feel safe so they can rest more easily.  When they sleep alone they are often alert to subtle shifts and sounds, needing to be aware of potential dangers.  Some dogs are, by nature, very vigilant.  So being able to really go “off duty” and get a good night’s sleep is important for them.  Puppies that sleep near their people usually sleep through the night (and without potty accidents) sooner than pups confined away from their humans.  Also, having your dog sleep near you enhances bonding… even while you’re sound asleep. (more…)

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